Lukas Mateja and Quentin Dall’olmo take victory in the DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series
Back in August tens of thousands of players began a quest to prove who was the strongest driver of them all, and on February 27 we had our answer. Here’s a look back at the 2020 DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series season.
The DiRT Rally 2.0 World Series’ second season kicked off in August of 2020 with in-game Qualifiers running for three months. Competitors could aim for a spot in the Rally Playoffs, Rallycross or both, with the top drivers on Xbox, PlayStation and Steam progressing to the next stage.
Already battle-hardened by Time Trials and Daily Challenges since the release of the game in February, DiRT Rally 2.0’s top drivers came out in force and threw down new records every week. The fastest drivers from each Round would take part in one of three Playoff broadcasts, with the winners from those making it to the Semi-Finals in December.
Everybody that took part in the Qualifiers earned themselves a new car for participating, the Ford Fiesta R5 MKII.
In mid December the competition heated up as the Quarter and Semi-Finals got underway. These events were streamed live to a global audience with our commentators Andrew Coley and Jon Armstrong calling the shots live from Silverstone.
First up were the Rally competitors, who would have to tackle classic rally machines like the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI and the Porsche 911 SC RS. The Stages were tricky as well, with big drama all the way to the end as some positions were decided on the final corner after an hour of rallying.
In Rallycross the World RX Supercars provided their usual mix of drama and intensity, along with plenty of high-precision racing from the game’s best players. In the end there were no major surprises as the top competitors from the 2019 World Series retained their form with many qualifying for the 2020 finals.
February: Grand Finals
Qualifying done, Playoffs done, it was time to crown our champions in the Grand Finals.
Originally set to take place in-person at the Autosport International Show in the UK, the Grand Finals were ultimately pushed back to February and held virtually, with commentary live from Motorsport Network’s Silverstone studio.
All of our competitors would be well-equipped for the Grand Finals, with identical hardware being shipped around the world including the latest gear from Thrustmaster, the series’ official partner. They would also be driving two significant cars in Rally and Rallycross history, Colin McRae’s 1995 SUBARU Impreza and Johan Kristoffersson’s Volkswagen Polo R Supercar.
After all of our finalists showed tremendous skill and bravery in the opening five Stages, the top three were then sent off to Wales for the final showdown on the iconic Sweet Lamb route. They would run one at a time with the full onboards shown live.
Reigning champion Joona Pankkonen was up first and was fully committed, producing some of the most exciting moments in World Series history with a true rollercoaster of emotions, culminating in a tense rollover comparable to Colin McRae’s famous moment at the 2006 X-Games.
Kazuho Iwata would follow Pankkonen and had a much smoother run until he reached the same point that Pankkonen rolled the Impreza. Like his rival, Iwata was also fully-committed, however the landing was less fortunate as he sent his SUBARU end-over-end, ensuring he’s finish no higher than third overall.
That left it up to Lukas Mateja to challenge Pankkonen for the title with the final run of the series. His run was a true blend of Pankkonen’s dramatics and Iwata’s calmness, with no major incidents. Although Pankkonen had more raw pace in some sections, the time lost through some of the bigger jumps was ultimately the deciding factor, as Lukas Mateja secured the rally title with two seconds to spare.
In Rallycross the action was less intense but dramatic all the same. Mateja, fresh off his rally title, was now hoping to do the double however the Dall’olmo brothers are a force to be reckoned with and dominated the qualifying heats.
With 6 strong races and plenty of fair, but fast racing behind them, the finalists headed to Silverstone for a winner-takes-all showdown. Mateja would start in fifth with the Dall’olmo brothers on the front row, however the opening lap shuffle saw Mateja quickly climb to second, where he was chasing down Quentin Dall’olmo’s red Volkswagen Polo.
It was not a solitary chase as double-champion Killian Dall’olmo was right alongside, and the two briefly tangled on the final lap. Meanwhile up front it was Quentin who would put in a textbook lights-to-flag performance and take his maiden World Series title.
Congratulations to our champions, podium-winners and everybody else on rising to the challenge this season, and many thanks to all of you for competing, tuning in and supporting the World Series.